RECENTLY retired Kildare star Ronan Sweeney is the new assistant manager with Waterford.
The Moorefield man joins former Kildare selector Niall Carew, who will manage the Deise for a second season in 2014. Carew moved swiftly to secure Sweeney’s services after he announced his retirement in July.
“I would have worked closely with the forwards for five years (with Kildare) and Roli was a big part of our plans,” said Carew. “Roli would have featured prominently for us, even when coming off the bench. Even though he was coming to the end of his career he always kept working and he was very easy to coach. I always felt that Roli had something to offer in a coaching role. He was very good in the dressing room even when he wasn’t playing, he was a great leader. On and off the pitch he has great leadership skills,” he said.
2013 was Carew’s first year in charge of Waterford and they went close to pulling off one of the shocks of the summer when they lost to Galway by just one point in the qualifiers.
“Coming into our setup, we’re hoping to make a bigger move in year two. The first year is always a weeding out process. I now have a very committed panel now so Roli doesn’t have to go through any of that stuff. It’s a matter of just getting in and coaching now. It’s a different challenge for him but it’s one that he is looking forward to. I know everybody in football circles in Waterford are thrilled to have a high-profile forward like Roli coming in. He’s coming in as a forward’s coach. I have three coaches in there but Roli will be the head coach,” said Carew.
The move will mean that Sweeney’s playing career with Moorefield could be hampered.
“Obviously Waterford will be number one,” said Carew. “They had a challenge game on Saturday and he announced it to the dressing room. Obviously he will be going all out for Moorefield this year but next year it will have to take a back seat because he will be involved with Waterford until we are finished and that will have to come first.”
Sweeney will clock up the miles as he makes the journey south for training twice a week.
“What Roli has done as a player this will be chicken feed to him in terms of commitment,” said Carew. “The pressure that management put players under is unreal these days, they have to perform physically and mentally. Roli just needs to have the mental side of things switched on so it will be easier on the body. He’s a massive coup for Waterford.”